(BTW, I recorded this last night.)
I tried to make my first video message today. The link to it is here. I apologize in advance for my eyes. I don’t have a teleprompter here. I also apologize for the background. I was at home today so you get a tiny glimpse into my life.
Here is the text:
Good Afternoon HTLA Community:
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Mathew McClenahan. I am the principal of High Tech LA. I wanted to reach out to you today and talk a little about how HTLA is responding to the current unfortunate situation in our community.
I hope this finds you all safe and healthy.
The past week is unprecedented in recent American history. Our entire society, every community, has been turned upside down and inside out. We are all dealing with the impact of the novel coronavirus in our private lives. We at HTLA all understand, intimately, the turmoil you are experiencing. I want you to know that we are all in this together. Our purpose is to continue to offer, to the best extent possible, both some familiar continuity as well as continued commitment to the academic and development progress of all our students. This is a difficult time, but this time will end. When it does, we want to make sure that our students are as prepared as possible for what will follow.
Of course, while HTLA is a school committed to presenting a rigorous education for all, we recognize that right now it is not possible to offer nor require the same level of student performance. Please don’t stress over grades. Let me say that again. Please do not stress over grades. Teachers are offering assignments and live sessions that are designed to keep you engaged but not to overburden you. Do the best you can and be in communication with your teachers. They will be flexible and understanding. It is the effort and the conversations about your learning that matter. If you are struggling, reach out. We are here for you.
We do want all students to make their best effort. This is not simply a vacation. However, just do your best. We understand that your situations are different than they were a week ago. We just want to help you continue to make progress. Let us help you. Don’t stress. Just try your best and talk to us.
Now, as many of you have heard, LAUSD has announced it is closing schools until May 1. This is our plan as well. Again, HTLA is planning on being closed through May 1st. Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as necessary. Please make sure to stay in communication with us.
We are learning to deliver distance education while you are learning how to learn in this new environment. Like you, we will continue to improve our offerings. Please let us know what is and what is not effective. We value your input.
If you are having technology issues, please reach out to Mr. DeSilva either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 818-609-2658.
If you are feeling stressed, please reach out to Ms. Bender at email@example.com or 818-207-4507.
To date, I have not been informed of anyone in the HTLA community having tested positive for COVID-19. However, I did receive word yesterday that one student has been asked to self-isolate due to symptoms that at least partially match those caused by the virus. I will let you know if I get another update. Please let me know if anyone in your household tests positive. This is valuable information for our community, and I will continue to protect your privacy in any information I send out.
Finally, please stay as optimistic as possible. I know how difficult this is for all of us. But as long as do the best we can, we communicate and we remember we are in this together, we will come out of this as well as we can. As always, I believe in our students and teachers. We have built something amazing and will continue to do so. Best of luck and stay safe and healthy.